• April 21 Header

  • Presidents Message Header


     Find a Balance!


    Dear Colleagues:


    From my vantage point of over 40 plus years as an educator, I can honestly tell you this has been the longest year of my career.

    The constant fluctuation of data generated by COVID-19 has forced school districts to have more than one official opening of school. It appears districts are having a new school opening every few weeks. 

    We are all aware of the significant time, effort and planning required to open a school in the pre-COVID era. Now in the COVID period, the opening of schools assumes a completely new meaning.

    Additionally, we are continually writing and rewriting detailed guides and policies, in consultation with key district, community and health advisors, to address remote learning, ventilation, technology and social and emotional learning.

    There is little time to fully reimagine anything. We just continually progress to the next version. In this constant state of moving on, I have found it most valuable to network with my colleagues within NJASA. We are all experiencing the same challenges and our ability to collaborate helps to advance education.

    Superintendents, teachers, parents and students have somewhat differing perspectives on education during this past year. But, all of these groups have learned one lesson together - positive interpersonal relationships between teachers and students are paramount for excellence in learning.

    There is nothing more beneficial than effective human communications. We are a society of individuals that value the opportunity to engage with each other.

    Do you remember your first day of school as a student? Or your first day of teaching? The power of a teacher to smile when you walked into your classroom is invaluable. That brief interaction has the potential to make a positive lifelong experience for both the student and teacher. And, while smiles can be seen over screens, in-person connections have proven to be more powerful.

    Yes, technology is a critical component in our daily lives, and it is an invaluable tool for learning. However, the physical communications between a student and teacher far outweigh the technology. We need to find a balance.

    As the perpetual optimist, I am confident that school leaders are committed, and students are resilient. The powerful combination of school leaders, the interpersonal relationship of teacher and student, and technology and will be most instrumental in bringing next year closer to a normal year.


    All the Best, 

    Dr. Margaret Dolan

    2020-2021 NJASA President